The American prison industry is seeing a drastic change in the way it is managed. Till a few years back, most of the prisoners were run by government agencies, but today they are run by private companies as it offers more profits than any other industries. Among the many companies in the prison industry, the largest is the Keefe Group. It has a number of affiliates such as IC Solutions, Keefe Commissary Network, Access Securepak, Keefe Supply Company, Access Correction, ATG, and others. The company offers everything from telecommunication services to food and clothing to prisons it has contracts with.
Keefe Group was recently in the limelight for its alleged abuse of power and taking advantage of the prisoners by charging them high fees for basic needs. For necessary things such as clothing, personal items, and food, Keefe Group has been charging a commission of 29.4% for state prisons and about 24% for those that are operated privately. Another service that they offer is music players to the prisoners where they charge $115 for an MP3 and then $1.70 for every song that the inmates download that is way more than what is available in the outside world. Even though the company gets tax benefits from the government for its services, the benefits are not passed on to the prisoners.
Recently, prisoner welfare group, Under Lock and Key had circulated an online petition aiming to bring to light the extortions tactics of the Keefe Group and other similar companies. The prisoners and the family members were asked to document the prices being charged by the company and send the details to the group to help them in their lawsuit against the company. The group seems to have all the information they need to help them file a strong case against the Keefe Group.
There is no doubt that the Keefe Group has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. I recently read a news report that stated that Gainesville businessmen were caught paying a bribe to Keefe officials and the Florida prison department. Since they have good political connections, it is to be seen how the legal system can bring justice to the prisoners and their family members.